"In The Universal History of Computing, Ifrah continues his exhilarating exploration into the fascinating world of numbers. In this fun, engaging but no less learned book, he traces the development of computing from the invention of the abacus to the creation of the binary system three centuries ago to the incredible conceptual, scientific, and technical achievements that made the first modern computers possible. He shows us how various cultures, scientists, and industries across the world struggled to break free of the tedious labor of mental calculation and, as a result, he reveals the evolution of the human mind."--Jacket

Includes bibliographical references (pages 378-394) and index

Historical summary of arithmetic, numerical notation, and writing systems -- From the particular to the general: arithmetic leads to algebra -- From calculation to calculus -- Binary arithmetic and other non-decimal systmes -- From clockwork calculator to computer: the history of automatic calculation -- What is a computer? -- Information, the new universal dimension -- Intelligence, science, and the future of mankind --

Ch. 1. Historical Summary of Arithmetic, Numerical Notation, and Writing Systems -- Ch. 2. From the Particular to the General: Arithmetic Leads to Algebra -- Ch. 3. From Calculation to Calculus -- Ch. 4. Binary Arithmetic and Other Non-decimal Systems -- Ch. 5. From Clockwork Calculator to Computer: The History of Automatic Calculation -- 1. Human Calculation and Machine Calculation -- 2. Pre-Renaissance Obstacles to Mechanical Calculation and the Beginnings of the Breakthrough -- 3. The Calculating Machine -- 4. The Keyboard Comes on the Scene. From Adding Machine to Cash Register -- 5. From Mechanisation of Simple Arithmetic to Automatic Arithmetic on an Industrial Scale -- 6. Analogue Computation. Origins and Development -- 7. The Contribution of Automata -- 8. The Development of Punched-tape Solutions -- 9. Charles Babbage, his Analytical Engine, and his Followers -- 10. Developments in Electromechanical Calculating Machines -- 11. The Electronic Revolution -- 12. Fully Programmed Machines -- 13. On the Road to the Computer: Recapitulation -- 14. The Contribution of the Mathematical Logicians -- 15. The Advent of Set Theory -- 16. The Contribution of Alan Turing -- 17. Further Progress Towards the Computer with John von Neumann -- 18. The First Generation of True Computers -- 19. The Pocket Calculator -- Ch. 6. What is a Computer? -- Ch. 7. Information, the New Universal Dimension -- Conclusion: Intelligence, Science, and the Future of Mankind